Support for Scottish independence has slid to just 42%, the lowest level since the last general election, a poll suggests.
The Savanta Comres survey, for the Scotsman, suggests that if a referendum were to be held tomorrow the results would be similar to the 2014 poll when No took 55.3% of the vote.
The poll of 1,001 adults found 42% would back independence, 49% support a No vote and 8% are undecided. Removing the undecideds would lead to a 54/46 split in favour of No.
In December 2019, 38% of those polled by YouGov for the Times backed independence, with the lead for Yes as high as 13% in an Ipsos Mori/STV poll in October 2020.
Other findings in the survey suggest the SNP will lose two seats when compared with 2016 and be four MSPs short of a majority.
Chris Hopkins, associate director at Savanta ComRes, told the Scotsman: “The direction of travel has been clear in the last few polls, with support for both independence and the SNP dropping ahead of the May elections. What this is down to remains unclear.
“It seems that the two major unionist parties, the Conservatives and Labour, have somewhat – but by no means completely – got their act together.
“This, coupled with a potentially more fragmented pro-independence list vote, means the SNP may fall short of their majority and not give Nicola Sturgeon the unequivocal mandate for a second independence vote that she so clearly craves.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross will warn the “very future of our country is at stake” in a speech on Thursday.
A pro-independence majority will mean the country would “move straight from a Scottish Parliament election campaign into a second referendum campaign”, Mr Ross will claim.
Reacting to the poll, SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “This poll confirms the election result is on a knife-edge in terms of whether the SNP secures a majority.
“The only guaranteed way to ensure Nicola Sturgeon is re-elected as First Minister, to put recovery in our own hands and to prevent Boris Johnson from deciding Scotland’s future, is to give both votes to the SNP on May 6.”